Days of Heaven (1978)
|Year Of Production||1978|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Language Select Then Programme|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Terrence Mallick|
Paramount Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Narrated by Bill's sister Linda, we are taken on a journey in the lives of our four main characters; and what a journey it is! This is not a normal picture with the usual conflict/resolution scenario that we seen all too often. Rather, it is almost a "slice of lives", centering on our four main characters. Given muted and rather natural roles, our main cast play it real with scenery and story all aiding the film. Some scenes have the actors talking, but with the noise about them raging so as you are unable to hear the dialogue. This is intended by the director, as we are to be the passive observers of the story. You don't need to understand everything that occurs in real life and so it is the case here. Director Terrence Malick intentionally draws the viewer into the world of our main characters, and in fact dialogue plays a secondary role in this picture as the story is told by the actors and the cinematographer (Nestor Almendros: Billy Bathgate: 1991, Places in the Heart: 1984, Sophie's Choice: 1982, Kramer vs Kramer: 1979. Nestor Almendros deservedly won the Academy Award for Cinematography for this film which is a visual tour-de-force) who give the story a sometimes wordless quality. The result is a film like no other. The dialogue is sparse, the jumps from various times in the story to others is sometimes sudden and lines between hero and villain completely blurred to the point of irrelevance. This is a story of people; good or bad, right or wrong with all facing damnation or salvation: it is all here. This is one of the most beautifully photographed motion pictures that this reviewer has had the pleasure of seeing. It is a film definitely worth seeing if for some reason you may have missed it. Highly recommended.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced, a slight but acceptable variance from the theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1.
We have a fairly poor transfer to DVD here, so the level of sharpness does suffer. On the surface, the transfer looks okay but dig a little deeper and you will find layer after layer of flaws. The sharpness level is fairly ordinary given the amount of grain, edge enhancement and pixelization seen with this title. Shadow detail is not overly clear with some darker scenes just a sea of black. There are several night scenes in this film and all feature little detail.
Despite this film's age, the quality of the colour seems to have withstood the test of time with a fairly natural image presented. There is some chroma noise during some scenes, with 54:34 being a stand-out example. There is also some tapestry effect visible at 25:45.
The level of MPEG artefacting in this transfer is quite bad. Both pixelization and macro blocking are excessively present. In regards to pixelization, stand-out times can be seen at: 4:16, 4:34, 9:18, and 26:08. Also, macro blocking is a problem. This artefact can be seen at: 38:04, 58:07, and 76:42. Edge enhancement is a real problem for this transfer with prominent examples at: 4:27 on the bridge, 9:23 on the scarecrow and 19:08 on the blacksmiths. These are only sample times as these artefacts can all be seen throughout the movie. There is also some telecine wobble that can be seen, such as at 59:45. Film artefacts are seen regularly during this feature and consist mostly of small white specks and nicks. These are not overly pervasive, but are visible throughout the entire feature. Grain is fairly evident throughout. There are also some quite noticeable jumps in the image where it seems as if the film hops out of its frame momentarily. This can be seen at 9:25, amongst other places in the film.
There are several subtitle options available and a sampling of the English subtitle option revealed very accurate text whilst not being completely word for word.
This is a single layered disc and as such there are no layer change issues with this title. One does wonder what this transfer would have looked like if it were committed to a dual-layered DVD. Still, with the fairly short running time of this title, a single layer should have been sufficient.
Among the various audio options is a reasonably good English Dolby Digital 5.1 track that services the film well. This film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Sound in 1978 against the likes of Superman and The Deer Hunter, which went on to win the award. Spanish, French and Italian are all also catered for with Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded audio tracks. There is a constant tape hiss that can be heard throughout the film and while not completely distracting, it is there.
Dialogue quality is very good although not always understandable. This is done intentionally by the director at times with background and foreground noise sometimes drowning out the a particular character or character's lines.
Audio sync is fine with no major issues of note.
The film's music was composed by popular film composer Ennio Morricone ( Bugsy: 1991, The Untouchables: 1987, The Mission: 1986. The scores for all these films were nominated for Academy Awards). Even if you haven't seen this film, you would have heard music from this film - it is a lovely string and harp-oriented score. Music is used sparingly during this title with some passages of the film without score. This is sometimes more effective than using a score to steer the viewer into an emotional direction when the acting and story are doing it already. A great use of score and restraint by the composer and director.
While this film has been remastered into Dolby Digital 5.1 English, the audio for this feature is mostly forward oriented with little action from the surround channels. This, like the film's score, seems to be intended as overuse of the rears with this title could have been distracting. They do get used, but as they should and that is in total service to the film. There is some use of the rears with a stand-out time being at 52:16.
As with the surround channels, so is the case of the low frequency channel. It gets a bit more use that the rears with it being called for during some of the musical passages. Every once and a while we do get some serious activity from the subwoofer with 2:30 being a prime example. Again, a restrained audio mix that serves the picture well.
|Surround Channel Use|
The Main Menu offers the standard options with little of real stand-out note. The Main Menu options are:
The Subtitles page is similarly themed to the one described above with a total of 9 subtitles on offer. This menu is silent, static, and 16x9 enhanced.
The Scene Selection menu offers the viewer 3 pages covering the 10 chapters of the film. Static images from between 2 and 4 chapters are on screen with chapter titles under each static image from the respective chapter. The images are sufficiently large to be of reasonable value and the chapter titles are fairly readable. This menu is, as with the rest, silent, static, and 16x9 enhanced.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The video quality is quite bad with many MPEG and transfer faults along with quite a bit of edge enhancement and grain. Not a pretty transfer, but a beautiful film.
The audio is good with both an Academy Award Nominated soundtrack and score. Although you can hear a hiss throughout this picture, the sound works well in concert with the happenings on screen.
The extras are almost nonexistent with only a Theatrical Trailer on offer.
|DVD||Panasonic A300-MU, using S-Video output|
|Display||Hitachi CP-L750W LCD Projector. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to DVD player. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||VAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)|